Philip Belamant Highlights Why Zilch is a Safe Payment Solution Amidst Changing Economy

Philip Belamant
5 min readSep 29, 2022


With the Bank of England recently forecasting that inflation is expected to peak at around 13% by the end of this year, and the UK falling into recession, many British consumers are looking for solutions to help them spread the cost of their everyday shopping. Prices in Britain are rising more quickly than they have in four decades, and covering essential costs has become more difficult for many.

As a result, it’s no surprise that Citizens Advice has found that 1 in 12 people turned to buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) providers to pay for their groceries and bills in the six months leading up to March 2022. But outdated BNPL models can come with unexpected risks like late fees and high interest rates. We call those BNPL 1.0.

Instead, those looking to spread the cost of their shopping can find a safer solution in the customer-focused payments company Zilch. Philip Belamant, Zilch’s CEO and co-founder, established the company to offer consumers an alternative to high-interest loans — a payment solution that actively benefits consumers by providing the most affordable way to pay on credit or debit and offering additional benefits.

How Zilch Works

Consumers can use Zilch to purchase a range of goods and services and choose between two handy payment options: they can either spread the cost of their purchase over six weeks without paying any interest or late fees, or they can accumulate 2% cashback for future purchases through Zilch’s “Tap and Pay” and “Zilch Rewards” features. These benefits make Zilch preferable over credit cards, which typically don’t offer the same cashback benefits and can come with heavy interest and late fees.

Zilch’s Affordability Algorithm

Given that both short- and long-term credit can pose issues for consumers if not handled responsibly, Zilch doesn’t allow users to pay off their accounts with credit cards. Instead, the London-based company measures each user’s affordability, updating its customers’ spending limits based on its proprietary algorithm every time a customer makes a purchase.

Zilch has partnered with the global leading credit checking company Experian to enable reciprocal reporting of credit information. Experian’s affordability technologies build on Zilch’s technologies to enable an even deeper understanding of each user’s affordability. This way, Zilch can ensure each of its consumers can afford to borrow, encouraging responsible spending.

“It’s OK for people to buy fast fashion that ends up in a landfill in six weeks’ time,” Philip Belamant told Bloomberg. “But for food that people need or something that’s essential for their family? No, they should use high-cost credit to pay for this. We just do not understand how you reconcile that logic.”

Covering the Costs of Energy Bills and Groceries

With the cost of living on the rise, consumers across the UK are using Zilch to split the cost of all sorts of purchases, including their energy bills. Spreading the cost of these ever-rising bills can be especially handy while people are waiting for paychecks or government benefits.

Zilch’s offerings are a game-changer for the many people who need to spread the cost of their energy bills. And the number of people who need this help is likely to rise from Oct. 1, 2022, when Ofgem’s price cap on standard and default tariffs will climb from £1,971 per year to £3,549 per year for typical users paying by direct debit. These prices will likely climb further in 2023.

Energy bills aside, users can also use Zilch to shop with thousands of retailers, including supermarkets and online food delivery companies like Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

Standing Apart From Competitors

Zilch’s customer-oriented approach has positioned the payments company away from many of its competitors, some of which are now in decline. While June 2022 saw the valuations of various fintechs fall, Zilch continued growing in popularity thanks to its BNPL 2.0 model, which combines the best of debit, credit, and rewards while eliminating the risks that come with credit. At this time, Zilch extended its funding round to reach its current value of $2 billion. According to its latest fundraising announcement, this funding has led to “mature customer cohorts now using Zilch daily.”

Many of the fintechs that are now declining in popularity partner with merchants instead of consumers to make a profit. (Zilch takes the opposite approach, partnering with consumers and allowing these individuals to shop with any retailer that accepts MasterCard.)

Zilch’s FCA Consumer Credit License

Zilch is a regulated company with a consumer credit license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Historically, it has been unusual for a company in the BNPL industry to hold an FCA license, as this industry is exempt from regulations on products that charge interest.

But Philip Belamant considers this exemption unhealthy, and Zilch has worked closely with the FCA to complete its Regulatory Sandbox Programme. During this process, the FCA assessed Zilch’s product offerings, cash flow statements, balance sheet, and profit and loss forecasts and completed a background check on the company’s management team. The regulator commended Zilch’s low initial lending limits and rejection of compound interests.

Over the past couple of years, the FCA has implemented various changes to protect consumers against outdated BNPL providers’ products. In August 2022, the regulator announced it was monitoring the industry, introducing plans to use criminal and regulatory enforcement powers to tackle promotions, including social media influencers’ posts, that don’t clearly warn of the risks involved with credit payment options.

Instead, BNPL advertisements must clearly explain all relevant terms and conditions and not exaggerate the speed and/or ease of use that a service offers. This is particularly important when it comes to vulnerable groups, who are at risk of being specifically targeted.

A little earlier in the year, in June, HM Treasury announced that the FCA would release new regulations for companies that operate in the finance space. These rules banned companies from promoting their financial services without approval from the FCA, preventing impersonation and fraud in financial services advertising.

The new rules also prevent companies from using cookies to run targeted advertisements, which can lead to issues relating to data sharing and privacy. Furthermore, any company that runs financial advertisements in the UK must now register with the FCA first.

At the launch of these regulations, Zilch was already compliant with all new rules. Meanwhile, many financial service providers had to make immediate changes to their offerings.

Zilch’s Growing Popularity

Since its launch in 2020, over 2.5 million shoppers have signed up to use Zilch, which equates to more than 250,000 users each month. As the fastest-growing European unicorn in history, Zilch has outpaced some of the biggest fintech brands.

Aside from offering a customer-centric payment solution, Zilch also offers a collection of affordable lifestyle tips on its TikTok platform.

About Philip Belamant

Fintech disruptor Philip Belamant has conceptualised and developed a host of mobile payment solutions that have improved mobility and welfare on a global scale. From building the solutions that enabled underfinanced populations in South Africa to pay for water, electricity, and physical goods from mobile phones and virtual cards during the noughties, to co-founding Zilch, which has enabled financial inclusion for over 2,500,000 consumers, he has dedicated his career to bringing payment solutions to those who need financial support.

Originally published at on September 29, 2022.



Philip Belamant

Philip Belamant — CEO/Founder of Zilch. Committed to evolving the fintech space to foster accessibility and systemic change.